❅ Chapter 19 ❅

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The ball was everything I'd imagined it would be and more, though I wasn't in the spirits to enjoy it. It was a blurred mixture of preening and gossip and waltzing. High fae, ambassadors, aristocrats and even some lower fae came to meet the new queen, and apparently the new king. Most were drunk by the end of the night, holding up bright golden and silver goblets of faerie wine, belting speeches in my honor, though I found it amusing considering they had no idea who I was. I lingered to Cleon's side, because she was damn good at scaring off any suitors, or fae who seemed a little too interested in my lineage. I smiled for my mother, though it was apparent that my heart wasn't in it. I couldn't get the fact that she lied to me out of my mind.

Despite everything, I just couldn't bring myself to the present - my mind kept dashing to the past, too everything I'd screwed up on. I had to keep reminding myself that there was a good chance I'd never see Sebastian again, so there was no use in fretting about his sister.

But I couldn't just forget about it. My humanity wasn't just a switch you could flick on and off like Foster's. All I could think about was Sebastian in our tent, waiting by the kitchen table or on our bed, praying his sister was all right. The worry he must be going through... the doubt. It was probably running him ragged - driving him insane. He would never know what happened to his sister, though I was positive he would blame the fae. He just had no idea which faerie was the one to actually murder his sister. Me.

There was a band in my honor, all from different courts; two guys and two girls. There was a man with a nicely tailored suit made out of reddish-orange velvet, his skin pale and his hair a fiery brass color that shone with millions of gold and yellow undertones. He played the fiddle. The other man, however, wore tight leggings and a tunic made out of matching dark green material. His skin was dark - sun kissed, while his hair was honey blonde. Almost like Danna's. He squatted next to the man with fire for hair, beating on a pair of drums.

The two woman, on the other hand, were both petite and stick like. The girl from my court, a faerie with black-blue hair and black pits for eyes, wore a beautifully sewn dress made out of dark blue silk. It rippled around her as if it were made out of water. She played the flute, while the other, a girl from the spring court, plucked guitar strings. But both looked beautiful.

A cool hand touched my bare shoulder, and I jolted. Foster stood behind me, a lazy grin resting on his features. He wore a white suit that clung to his slender from, accenting the curves of his muscles. He actually seemed relaxed unlike the other times I'd seen him in the past couple days, or at least the glances. But the sight of him sent my heart kickstarting in my chest. There was no way I could look at him the same, knowing what Cleon had told me earlier.

He's going to be my husband.

He bowed at the waist and offered me a pale hand. "Princess, would you do me the honor?"

Just then a fast and exciting tune sprang to life, fiddles and guitar strings thrumming while a soft flute sang.

I gulped. "Wait, to dance?" I whispered under my breath. He had no idea that I knew about the wedding.

Foster flashed his winning smile that I was starting to love. "Of course."

Even with the preparation for the ball, the past two days of dance lessons hadn't gone smoothly, and I was pretty sure Ms. Tiga didn't like me, or appreciate the bruised toes. But I guess you could say I was a fast learner.

"I can't dance."

He made a sound in the back of his throat. "Absurd! Anyone can dance. Just follow my lead." He offered me his hand and I put my clammy palm over his. I looked at him, baffled. What the hell?

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